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5 Must-Reads for Ocean Lovers

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Warm weather is upon us! Whether you are jetting off to a tropical beach or are soaking up the rays in your backyard, it’s time to stock up on your summer reads. If you need some suggestions, don’t fear: We’ve pulled together some of the most informative (and entertaining!) books for ocean lovers. Happy reading!

1. Four Fish — Paul Greenberg

A livelong waterman, Paul Greenberg knows fish. Influenced by Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire and Omnivore’s Dilemma, Greenberg decided to dive headfirst into the changing landscape of seafood. He found that the processes of gathering food from the ocean is rapidly changing: Consequences of overfishing and advancements in bio technology have created a confusing new world of both wild and farmed seafood.

Greenberg travels from Alaska to the South Pacific and beyond to bring stories of the “big four” seafood species — cod, salmon, sea bass and tuna — in an attempt to unravel the complicated state of our fisheries. His research explores the impact of our current fishing practices and how we can adapt to work towards a healthier, more sustainable ocean. Trust me, you’ll never look at seafood the same.

2. “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do” — Wallace J Nichols

The fact that beaches are consistently a top vacation destination is no coincidence. Just ask Wallace J Nichols, who has dedicated his research to learning more about human’s connection with the ocean. Nichols turns to science to explain why we feel so relaxed when we spend time in, around and under the water.

It turns out that our ties to the water are much greater than personal preferences: Nichols delves into the emotional, behavioral, psychological and physical connections we feel with the big blue. He also argues how our “blue mind”, or the meditative state that occurs in our brains when we’re around water, can be connected to larger public healthy issues.

3. The World is Blue — Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle didn’t land the title “Her Deepness” for nothing: Dr. Earle’s extensive experience and knowledge of the ocean is legendary. In The World is Blue, Dr. Earle combines her personal observations with top science to explore the many challenges facing our ocean today. From pollution to overfishing, dead zones to die-offs, she explains the complexity and severity of these issues—and why we still have reason to hope.

Earle argues for strategies that allow us to interact with the ocean sustainably and help undo some of the damage already done. Coined “a Silent Spring for our era”, The World is Blue is a staple for any ocean conservation-lover’s bookcase.

4. Octopus! The Most Mysterious Creature in the Sea — Katherine Harmon Courage

The octopus has long held the imagination of scientists and storytellers alike. It’s strange, snaking arms combined with its spectacular intelligence has made it one of the most intriguing invertebrates in the sea. It’s likeness can be found all over the world, from restaurants to research labs, to art and stories.

Katherine Harmon Courage unravels the cultural and scientific significance behind this mysterious cephalopod. Peppered with little-known facts (the oldest know fossilized octopus lived before the first dinosaurs! Octopuses can open childproof bottles), this book is guaranteed to capture the attention of curious readers everywhere.

5. Voyage of the Turtle — Carl Safina

Leatherback turtles are massive, ancient, iconic — and in trouble. Although this species’ roots run back 125 million years, anthropogenic pressures have led them to become critically endangered. Carl Safina’s account dives into the natural history of this animal (describing it as “an evolutionary marvel: a “reptile” that behaves like a warm-blooded dinosaur, an ocean animal able to withstand colder water than most fishes and dive deeper than any whale”), and what we can do to save them.

Safina takes us on a journey all over the world as he and his colleagues track leatherbacks. He also compares lessons learned after their sharp decline in the Pacific and their unexpected recover in the Atlantic. His take-home message? The fate of this spectacular creature rests on our hands.

Any books we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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